Oral Health Group

U.S. Dentists Prescribe Opioids to Young Patients at Alarming Rates

June 16, 2019
by NetNewsLedger

Despite the fact that regular dental care may represent significant out-of-pocket expenses for many Americans, approximately 127.6 million U.S. adults visited a dentist in 2017. Preventative oral treatments are typically seen as a vital step in safeguarding one’s overall health and reducing dental-related costs later on. However, recent reports reveal that it’s entirely possible a visit to your dentist could be the very thing that changes your health for the worst — and it might potentially cost someone their life.

That’s because studies have found that American dentists are continuing to prescribe opioids at a rather alarming rate. The U.S. currently holds over 45% of the global pharmaceutical market, but the nation is currently grappling with the adverse effects of prescription pills. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 130 people died on a daily basis from opioid-related overdoses in 2016. A staggering 11.4 million people abused prescription opioids that same year, a fact that makes it that much more likely for an individual to struggle with addiction, begin using drugs like heroin, or to pass away from substance abuse. Even if no overdose is experienced, opioid misuse can lead to a number of health concerns, including heart problems. A recent study found that opioid use can increase the risk of atrial fibrillation and stroke. Since more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside the hospital each year, even patients who don’t misuse opioids may be taking a huge gamble.

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